March 15, 2019 / 8:05 AM / 4 months ago

Turkish unemployment surges to 13.5 percent, highest in nine years

FILE PHOTO: Skyscrapers in the city's business district shape the skyline over Gultepe district in Istanbul July 18, 2007. REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s unemployment rate jumped to 13.5 percent in the November-January period, its highest level in nine years, official data showed on Friday, in a fresh sign of the impact of last year’s currency crisis.

The economy contracted a sharper than expected 3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, its worst performance in nearly a decade, indicating last year’s near 30 percent slide in the lira had tipped it into recession.

The number of people registered as unemployed jumped to 4.3 million in the three months to January, a surge of more than one million from a year earlier when the jobless rate stood at 12.7 percent, data from the Turkish Statistical Institute showed.

In the last three months of 2018, the unemployment rate was 12.3 percent.

In February, the government and Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges launched a campaign to boost employment, which they say will provide jobs for 2.5 million people.

Both President Tayyip Erdogan and his son-in-law Finance Minister Berat Albayrak have said Turkey has left the worst of its economic troubles behind.

Non-agricultural unemployment stood at 15.6 percent in the November-January period, the data showed, up from 14.3 percent during October-December.

Reporting by Behiye Selin Taner; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Daren Butler

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